The SAP CX Live announcement you might have missed, and why it matters

Paula Hansen referenced an upcoming initiative that could help nurture an important conversation between marketing and IT

There were two big topics at the forefront of SAP CX Live on Wednesday: the launch of its customer data platform (CDP) and its recent acquisition of cloud-based marketing software provider Emarsys. However there was a third bit of news, mentioned almost in passing, that could have an even greater impact on its efforts to grow in the customer experience space.

During the keynote of its virtual summit, SAP Customer Experience chief revenue officer Paula Hansen announced she would soon be launching a podcast, simply called Experience with Paula Hansen, in a couple of weeks.

I know. Another podcast? But in this case, a podcast could offer both SAP and its traditional IT customers one of the most useful tools to drive adoption of its CDP and other technologies.

In her segment of the keynote session, for example, Hansen talked about Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics company the has been trying to adopt a more omni-channel approach to the way it serves customers, including e-commerce and traditional retail.

Using SAP Sales Cloud, SAP Service Cloud and SAP Cloud Platform, Natura has combined real-time analysis of customer demand with greater control over its supply chain.

This means Natura’s 1.8 million sales consultants can better understand what customers want, and deliver it to them more quickly. Hansen said the company is now serving more than 200 orders per minute.

Details around that customer story, which was presented as more of an anecdote, could be helpful to the many CX professionals whose background is in marketing, rather than IT. If Hansen’s podcast can dig deeper into how those kind of results are achieved, it will bring a value that technology alone cannot.

The relationship between surveys and CDPs 

While there’s no doubt that CDPs are on the rise as a product category, it’s a space already filled with competitors like Oracle and Adobe, and its premise — to synthesize customer data across touchpoints — may sound like a lot of other tools marketers-turned-CX-leaders have vaguely heard  about.

Tellingly, there were several SAP speakers during the keynote who mentioned the many use cases for a CDP beyond marketing, possibly reflecting hope that other decision-makers will be part of the purchase decision. However, CX is often tied to an organization’s sense of its brand promise. That means marketing will likely drive a lot of the most critical projects.

SAP has a potential advantage in that it has laid the groundwork for its CX strategy with the acquisition of Qualtrics, a brand with which many marketers and CX professionals were already familiar. While its CDP may be the more important piece of the puzzle — all those surveys are pretty useless if you can’t connect the dots from what’s actually happening in your organization — buying Qualtrics helped SAP get in the door.

The priority now is to nurture a conversation between the CX leaders and marketers who want to own the experience mandate, and the IT professionals who can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Hansen’s Experience podcast may not be the only way to get that dialogue going, but it’s a sign SAP recognizes there is going to be a lot more explaining to do before more CX projects go live.

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